The Winnipeg Jets are slowly starting to fall out of the playoff picture. At this time, they have an 18-17-7 record and have lost eight out of their last 10 contests. Due to their struggles, they are nine points behind the Calgary Flames for the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Unfortunately for the Jets, they also have played just as many games as them. If they are unable to drastically turn things around from here, they will likely be sellers at the deadline. If this comes to fruition, they are another team the Boston Bruins should be calling.
The Jets aren’t in a position where they need to embark on a rebuild. They still have a strong core of players, and honestly may have the ability to climb themselves back into the race because of it. However, they do have some rental candidates who could be interesting fits on the Bruins. Thus, they could be an appealing trade partner. Alas, let’s dive into a few of them.
Although he may not be as flashy as J.T. Miller or Tomas Hertl, Andrew Copp could be a cheaper option to help resolve the Bruins’ second-line center problem. After breaking out with a 39-point campaign in 55 games last season, he hasn’t shown any real signs of slowing down this year. In 42 games thus far, he has 12 goals, 16 assists, and a plus-2 rating. That kind of production would be welcomed with open arms down the middle by the Bruins, so he could be an alluring option.
Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet recently noted that the Jets would definitely have to consider moving Copp if they find themselves out of the playoffs at the deadline. This makes sense, as the 27-year-old is set to be an unrestricted free agent during the summer, and there’s no guarantee he will be open to signing an extension. When seeing as how he can play all three forward positions and can be utilized on both the power play and penalty kill, he would be a sweet addition for the Bruins.
It’s essential for playoff teams to have as much depth on the back end as possible. The Bruins learned this the hard way last postseason, as losing multiple defensemen during it was a major reason why they fell to the New York Islanders in the second round. This season has also been tough for them when it comes to injuries, as Jakob Zboril has been ruled out for the season. With that, John Moore and Urho Vaakanainen are currently sidelined, too. This should make Don Sweeney open up to the idea of bringing in a potential seventh defenseman. Nathan Beaulieu certainly can fit that description.
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Beaulieu is in the final year of his contract and would be a pure rental. In 19 games this season, he has one assist, so offense isn’t his specialty. However, he also plays a physical game, and that is something that the Bruins need more of in their lineup. Although he is currently out with a lower-body injury, he is only on regular injured reserve (IR), so he isn’t expected to miss too much time. Overall, he wouldn’t be a huge splash but would still give the team more to work with.
Wiebe also wrote that Paul Stastny could be another player the Jets trade, too. The 36-year-old center is once again having himself another solid year, and the truth is in his statistics. In 31 games, he has 11 goals, nine assists, and a plus-5 rating. Although his best offensive days are behind him, he still does produce well and could be another cheaper option for the second-line center position. Ideally, the Bruins should look for somebody who produces a bit more offensively, but he wouldn’t be a bad addition if the bigger names get traded elsewhere.
Stastny also could be a potential third-line forward if the Bruins decide to trade Jake DeBrusk. He is capable of playing left wing, but the Bruins could also move Charlie Coyle to right wing if needed. Between him and Copp, I’d argue that the latter would have a bigger impact, but it’s also never bad to add a veteran to the mix, too.
The Bruins also lost an extra forward through waivers last month in Karson Kuhlman. As stated above, depth is extremely important come playoff time, and the same applies when focusing on forwards. One player who could offer the Bruins with just that is Jansen Harkins. He would be a good fit for the extra forward role, as he is capable of playing both center and wing.
In 41 games this season, Harkins has four goals to go along with three assists. He is by no means an offensive juggernaut, but if utilized as a depth forward, he could be a nice addition for the Bruins. Besides his versatility, he also has been noted for his solid defensive work, too. That is never a bad thing to see from a potential bottom-six forward, so perhaps this could be an avenue worth exploring. That is especially the case if he only costs them a late-round draft pick.
For the Jets to avoid being sellers this deadline season, they will need to seriously turn things up over the next month and a half. They have a lot of catching up to do in the standings, and at this juncture, it is starting to feel like an obstacle too challenging for them to overcome. Thus, the Bruins could very well have them as another potential team to trade with this year. Let’s wait and see what happens on that front.